- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

The Supreme Court said yesterday it will decide if real estate executives can be sued when their sales staffs discriminate against customers.
The court will review a case involving a mixed-race California couple whose offer on a new home was canceled by an agent who reputedly called them a "salt-and-pepper team" and other racial slurs.
The ruling, likely sometime next year, will determine how easy it is to collect damages for housing discrimination. It will also establish how much liability thousands of real estate company owners have for their employees' behavior.
In this case, the couple asked agent Grove Crank in 1996 to show them homes in Twentynine Palms, Calif. He took them only to houses that exceeded their $150,000 limit, according to court records, so they shopped on their own and made an offer on a home with one of Mr. Crank's colleagues.
Emma and David Holley said the $145,000 offer was never passed on to the seller, after Mr. Crank intervened, and the house sold for about $20,000 less.
They sued the small company, Triad Realty, and the company owner under a federal law that bans housing discrimination.
The question for the Supreme Court is whether real estate company owners such as David Meyer can be held responsible for subordinates' conduct, even if owners were unaware of the conduct.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Holleys and said they should be able to sue Mr. Meyer. Emma Holley is black and her husband is white.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide